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AUGUSTA – State Rep. Meredith Strang Burgess (R-Cumberland) has been appointed as a member of a commission that will help develop early child care and education plans for Maine. The appointment was made July 20 by House Speaker Glenn Cummings.

Rep. Strang Burgess is one of 13 members of the Commission To Develop a Strategic Priorities Plan for Maine’s Young Children, established by the Legislature earlier this year. The group consists of five state representatives, three state senators, a representative from the Attorney General’s office, and a number of others with expertise in early child care and education, economic development, the labor market, and business benefit packages.

“As the mother of three boys, I understand the first few formative years are so important to future social and intellectual growth,” Rep. Strang Burgess said. “It is essential that we provide children with high quality programs and services, which nurture and enhance positive growth and productive adulthood.”

The commission will evaluate information from existing early childhood task forces, reports and scientific data on brain development. The current and future economic needs of employers and parents and the links to early child care and education will also be identified.

The group will evaluate and review best practices related to parenting education, parent coaching and home visit programs. Members will also examine the multiple levels of relationship between early childhood brain development and the needs of parents and employers.

The commission will recommend a comprehensive three-year investment strategy plan that will identify the amount of investment each year, the prioritization of programs to be invested in, the expected outcomes for children and the economy, and funding sources needed to achieve the outlined goals.

A final report must be submitted to Legislature’s joint standing committees representing education, taxation, economic development, health and human services, and state finances by December 1, 2007, including the commission’s strategic investment plan and suggested legislation.

Rep. Strang Burgess, a first-term legislator, is a member of the Education and Cultural Affairs Committee. She represents Chebeague Island, Cumberland, Long Island and part of North Yarmouth.


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